Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Vice Interview: Growing

Here is another lead-up-to-Supersonic type interview with Growing.

As promised yesterday we will be interviewing a band that happens to be playing at Supersonic this weekend in old Brum every day. Today we have a chat with woozy drone guys Growing. Last time we caught up with Kevin and Joe they cooked us dinner and did a bunch of DMT. Or rather Kevin did the DMT and Joe did the cooking. Anyway, we thought we’d see how they are doing.

Vice: Hey Joe. Wow, that sounds like a song. I bet no one has ever said that to you before. After yonks as a happy couple, you guys have now developed a third wheel called Sadie and become a tricycle. How come?

Joe DeNardo
: Tricycles are easier to balance.

Every time I have seen you play live it has been really loud. Like, really, really loud. Do you guys wear ear plugs or do you worry people might be mean about it? I am tossing up the idea myself. What is your advice: to plug or not to plug?

I wear earplugs because on our first tour I started getting bad migraines. But I also have tinnitus, so I don’t know how much good they do. I spent too much time as a youngster with my head against the speakers.

Sometimes you guys sit down when you play live, is it just too tiring standing up for a whole show?

I used to sit down so I could use both feet simultaneously on the effects pedals. What a nerd, huh?

You also seem to use crazy amounts of pedals. Have you ever triggered the wrong pedal by mistake and had the drone interrupted by something unlikely, like a duck quack or something that you had field recorded when you were stoned?

Nobody can ever tell.

That reassuringly leads me to my next question: how much of a Growing live show is made up on the spot and how much do you stick to the playbook?

There’s a pretty strict playbook, lots of Xs and Os, but in the transitions we have more flexibility, like a run-and-gun offence in basketball. We’re well conditioned.

You were both in Black Man White Man Dead Man a few years back. That name is pretty exciting. How did you go from that to plain old Growing?

BMWMDM is the name of an old pulp novel from the ’60s. It was a bad hardcore band name, but lots of fun times to look back on. When we first switched to Growing we were still a very vicious-sounding band so it maybe meant something else?

You guys are buddies with Mike Bones. Whenever I see him he’s getting through a tonne of smokes. How many cigarettes do you think he puffs on average in a day?

Not too many, I hope. He’s got to protect his precious pipes, that golden swooner.

A while back we did a little piece in the mag with you guys where Kevin did DMT and you cooked a nice meal. Your records do make great listening when stoned. Do you ascribe to that whole “taking drugs to make music to take drugs to” thing or is the tripping compatibility a happy coincidence?

I get high on brown booze. Do what feels good.

In the past you have played with quadraphonic sound and utilised projection and video in your live show. Any big plans for Supersonic?

It’s hard to pull off quad sound at a festival. I would like our more elaborate soundscapes or environments to be enjoyed for a longer period of time.

In almost every piece you read on you guys the concept of “nature” is mentioned and yet you live in NYC. Is all the nature-filled droning an attempt to escape the modernity of the city or something?

I don’t know why they mention nature so much. Seems to me our music contains references to all sorts of different things, musical and non-musical.

Is it true that you guys lived with Joe Preston for a while in your Olympia days? What did he used to get up to? Good housemate?

Joe and his cats were wonderful housemates. Back then we would get up to some serious Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater sessions.

I’ve heard you talk before about trying to replicate drones or hums that you overhear in the day-to-day within the context of Growing. What naturally occurring drones and hums have you been trying to nail lately?

The ringing in my ears.

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